Scottish Power: Worth Switching To?
Are you thinking about signing up to Scottish Power? We are here to help. In this supplier guide, find out exactly what the supplier offers, how much it charges for energy, how its customers review it, and where it is headed.
Scottish Power summary
|Electricity: Coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewable, other||100% wind sourced electricity|
|Fuel mix score: ★★★||Some competitive tariff options|
|Domestic market: Scotland, England and Wales||Warm home discount offered|
|Customers: 31.67 million||Very poor customer reviews|
|Selectra score: ★★||More expensive than independent suppliers|
About Scottish Power
Not many energy suppliers can boast 118 years of experience. Since its birth well over a century ago, Scottish Power has evolved into one of the most seasoned energy companies in Britain.
The Glasgow-based supplier, and subsidiary of Spanish utility company Iberdrola, is one of the UK’s six largest gas and electricity suppliers. It delivers gas and electricity to over five million households and businesses across the UK.
Scottish Power is currently the DNO (or Distribution Network Operator) for southern and central Scotland, North Wales, Merseyside as well as parts of Shropshire and Cheshire. The three businesses operated by the supplier and its subsidiaries during 2019 were:
- Energy Networks - with 3,009 employees
- Energy wholesale and retail - with 1,696 employees
- Renewables - with 395 employees
- Scottish Power’s cheapest tariff matches Ofgem’s energy price cap.
- The supplier holds 10% of the UK’s energy market share.
- It takes 3.5 minutes on average to get through to a Scottish Power customer service agent on the phone.
- 15% of Scottish Power’s energy is made up of renewables.
- Ofgem receives 2,015 complaints for every 100,000 Scottish Power customers.
- 95% of customers on Trustpilot rate Scottish Power as ‘bad’.
Scottish Power reviews
Out of the 4,340 reviews published by Scottish Power customers on Trustpilot, a whopping 96% rated the supplier as Bad. This is the lowest rating on the given scale. After reading a sample, reviews frequently mention:
- Unexplained and unexpected electricity bills increases.
- Lack of clarity on bill calculations.
- Long waiting times to speak to a customer service representative.
- An inefficient and confusing complaints resolution process.
A terrible history of bad customer service
It is important to note that previous penalties and sanctions have been imposed on the supplier by Ofgem in 2015 for poor customer service and overdue bills, as well as its failure to implement complaints rulings from the Energy Ombudsman.
In fact, Scottish Power received so many complaints that Ofgem announced in September 2018 that it would open an investigation into the company's failing customer-service response practices. This is obviously a huge red flag to current and potential customers.
In contrast to the above, the latest Which? Survey has awarded Scottish Power high marks for its complaint response turnaround time. According to the supplier’s own website, Scottish Power received 26,833 in September 2018. Of these, 59% were resolved on the same day and 76% were resolved within five working days.
So what explains the mismatch between Which? and Trustpilot customer service reviews? The answer might point to the large and confusing structure of the supplier’s customer service branch. It is likely that Scottish Power is quick to respond, but only for customers who call the right number.
Scottish Power tariffs and prices
With Scottish Power, you have the choice of several fixed-rate tariffs and one variable-rate tariff. To refresh your memory on the difference between the two and which one is best for you, see our energy guide titled ‘Your Bill Explained’.
Scottish Power offers four fixed-rate tariffs. You nmay want to choose one of these if you are looking for price certainty, since the standing charge and unit rate will remain fixed throughout the term of your contract. Two of these tariffs are fixed over one year and the other two are fixed for two years.
It is not easy to decipher any of them by their names alone. Head to our Scottish Power Tariffs guide to find out what they include and how much they cost (scroll to the end of this section and click the tariffs link).
If you prefer to pay what Scottish Power pays to procure the energy it supplies to you, then you will want the variable-rate tariff, called Standard. If the price of energy goes up or down in the energy wholesale market, so will your bills.
While you won’t get the same price certainty as you would from a fixed-rate tariff, you can avoid paying exit fees if you decide to switch supplier. Click on the Scottish Power tariffs link in the box at the end of this section to see all the benefits of the supplier’s variable-rate tariff.
If you have a prepayment meter, then you pay for your energy in advance by topping it up with credit before you actually consume energy. The tariff you’ll be on is the Standard variable-rate tariff. See our Scottish Power Tariffs guide to find out what standing charge and unit rate you’ll be paying with a prepayment meter.
Scottish Power business tariff rates are some of the most competitive in the UK market. The supplier offers business energy customers a dedicated Business Energy Team, and required, customers can get expert energy advice through the supplier's partnership with The Carbon Trust.
Depending on your business size and industry, Scottish Power aims to offer the right tariff for you. That is why it has separate plans for small businesses and for commercial companies:
- If you’re running a small business, you have two fixed-rate tariffs allowing you to fix your energy costs for up to 3 years. There is also one variable-rate tariff on offer.
- Scottish Power’s commercial tariffs would be better value for money if you’re working on behalf of a larger chain of companies, or your premises include an industrial site.
Find out what the differences between commercial and small business tariffs are and the features and benefits of both by reading out guide to Scottish Power Tariffs.
SmartPower EV Tariff
If you have an electric vehicle, the Scottish energy giant offers the SmartPower EV Tariff, which it boldly claims to be 90% cheaper than electric chargers at petrol stations. The benefit of this tariff is in being able to charge your car overnight at a cheaper rate than what you would otherwise pay at a petrol station. The tariff applies the classic Economy 7 formula. Here is what you need to know:
- Discounted electricity unit rate: 4.736p/KWh
- Off-Peak hours: From 12:00am (midnight) to 5:00am.
Our guide to Scottish Power tariffs! Head to our Scottish Power Tariffs page to find out all the details of every Scottish Power domestic and commercial tariff available, including prices, discounts, benefits and extras.
Scottish Power price rises
Selectra news reported how Scottish Power raised its prices by an average of 5.5% in 2018. The increase is estimated to have affected one-third of Scottish Power customers. This would amount to over 960,000 households seeing their average bills increase by about £63.
The 2018 price rise was followed by another increase of about £177 to the Standard Variable tariff in April 2019 in response to the increased energy price cap. Accordingly, when the price cap was lowered in the second half of 2019, Scottish Power followed suit. The provider lowered the rate of its Standard Variable tariff by £76 per annum on average.
To find out more about fluctuations in price in response to the Ofgem-set energy price cap, take a look at the following Selectra guide: Ofgem changes the energy price cap again: How do I save?
How do Scottish Power prices compare to the market average?
What is Ofgem’s price cap? Our news article on the recent change to the cap explains that it sets a maximum ceiling on the amount of money your energy company can charge you per unit of gas or electricity. This includes any additional fees for delivering the energy to your home. Most suppliers charge up to the price cap which is currently set at £1,179.
What would you spend with Scottish Power? Scottish Power matches Ofgem’s energy price cap on its cheapest tariff - Standard Variable dual-fuel - with an estimated annual cost of £1,178.49 for an average consumption household (3-4 bedrooms).
Is this good or bad? Your energy bills could be a lot less with other energy companies that charge much lower prices, such as Tonik Energy or Nabuh Energy. Find out in our Scottish Power tariffs guide how the supplier's prices compare to its competitors and the Selectra price score we have awareded.
Beat the price cap!We can help you find the best value for money tariff for your household. Call us on 01704 325069 to speak to a Selectra expert and get a quote. In addition, to help you budget and plan, you can use our handy energy consumption estimator to get an idea of your household’s average energy expenditure.
A supplier’s fuel mix refers to how its electricity supply is generated from each fuel source - natural gas, coal, renewable or nuclear energy. Of the total fuel mix of electricity supplied in the UK, only 33% comes from renewable energy sources.
Scottish Power claims to be the UK’s leading wind farm developer, so it is expected that more of its energy will be supplied from wind power in the future. As of now, however, Scottish Power’s supply line is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels - largely natural gas (52%), with renewables coming in second and slightly below the national total (30%).
In October 2018, Scottish Power sold its remaining fossil fuel and hydropower plants to Drax, focusing solely on green energy. The “100% wind power” as advertised on its website, refers to its commitment to purchase a corresponding unit of wind energy for every unit of energy used by its customers.
Scottish Power Services
The supply of gas and electricity is not all that is offered by Scottish Power. To stand out from its competitors, the supplier has launched a range of other services that aim to help homeowners be more energy-efficient and make appliances more reliable. These services range from boiler care to smart thermostats. Let's have a look at what each service entails.
Boiler cover is a must if you want to protect yourself from the costs of repairing or replacing a broken or faulty boiler. If you are a customer with Scottish Power you may receive a favourable boiler cover rate through the supplier’s partnered insurance company, Domestic and General.
The Maintenance and Support Plans available offer an annual service, repairs and boiler maintenance tips. Find out about the supplier’s policies, plans and prices in our Scottish Power Boiler Cover guide.
Get boiler cover with Selectra for the best deals!Get in touch with a Selectra expert to get exclusive rates on 24/7 Homecare boiler cover. Call us now on 01704 325069.
Plumbing, drains and electrics
Scottish Power has partnered with home emergency insurer AXA to offer customers insurance for: Plumbing (leaks, burst pipes, etc), Drains (blocked toilets, clogged sink valves, etc) and Electrical system (wiring problems that fail to turn the lights on, etc).
You can choose from one of three types of cover:
- Plumbing and drains only
- Plumbing, drains and electrical
- Electrical only
You can get Appliance Care for a range of kitchen appliances to minimise the risk of breakdown through Scottish Power’s insurance partner, Domestic and General. Some of the domestic white goods covered under Appliance Care plans include:
- American fridge freezer at £9.50 / month
- Oven at £6.50 / month
- Washing machine at £7.50 / month
A Scottish Power smart meter can be requested directly through the supplier’s website. This smart meter will send readings to Scottish Power automatically, meaning that you won’t have to worry about receiving estimated bills. It also gives customers greater access than normal meters for the purpose of monitoring consumption and budgeting.
Find out about the many benefits of switching to a Scottish Power smart meter by reading our Smart Meter guide.
To request a smart meter you will have to get in contact with Scottish Power. Find the right contact information through the “How can I contact Scottish Power?” section of this guide.
Electric vehicle charging
Electric vehicles are vital to achieving the UK’s net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050. Scottish Power is playing its part by facilitating the installation of EV home chargers coupled with the provision of attractive EV tariffs.
An EV home charger costs £899, including installation. Customers can apply for government funding to finance part of the cost, the details of which are as follows:
- If you live anywhere in the UK, you can apply for a grant of £500 from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). So instead of paying £899 for a Smart EV home charger, you would pay £399.
- If you live in Scotland, in addition to OLEV funding, you can also apply for a £300 grant from the Energy Savings Trust (EST). Instead of paying £899 for a Smart EV home charger, you would pay just £99.
To find out about Scottish Power’s SmartPower EV Tariff, see our Scottish Power Tariffs guide.
In addition to smart meters, Scottish Power also offers Smart Thermostats by which you can control and regulate your home’s temperature, even when you are not there. Here is how it works:
- You can use a dedicated app connected to your smart thermostat to monitor or alter your heating. So if you forget to switch your heating off before you leave your home, you can do so through the app.
- When temperatures drop overnight in the winter, there is no need to worry about frozen pipes. The smart thermostat will detect low temperatures and switch the heating on automatically.
Scottish power makes these available for £19.99 per month over 12 months with extended warranty.
Scottish Power energy grants: Aid against fuel poverty
Scottish Power helps its customers avoid fuel poverty by offering two types of grants: the Scottish Power Warm Home Discount and the Hardship Fund. Below we highlight what each entails and how to apply for aid against fuel poverty.
Scottish Power Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount scheme aids customers by giving out a rebate of £140 from the total cost of electricity during the colder months of winter, when energy use typically rises. Find out in our Scottish Power Warm Home Discount guide if you are eligible to qualify automatically for a rebate and how to apply for it if not.
Important dates to remember if you wish to apply:
- The scheme will commence on 1 April 2019.
- If your application is accepted, your rebate will be made by 31 March 2020.
- The scheme will run until 31 December 2021.
If you find yourself in arrears with your gas and electricity bills, you can apply for aid from the Hardship Fund to reduce or clear what you owe. Find out whether you are eligible to get the Fund and how to apply for it. Be aware that you must meet strict criteria to be eligible
How can I contact Scottish Power?
Existing and prospective Scottish Power customers can find all the contact information they need from our Scottish Power Contact guide. In it, we have compiled all of the supplier’s published contact information and sorted it by department.
If you are thinking about switching to Scottish Power, speak to one of Selectra’s energy experts to find out if it is the right move for you. We will compare Scottish Power’s tariffs against all other competitors. An expert will ask you a series of questions about your home’s size and your energy consumption to offer you a personalised comparison. Call now through the number in the box below.
Scottish Power’s Selectra score
The criteria used for Selectra’s verdict is based on the supplier’s prices relative to the market average, its average consumer review score, its fuel mix and perks offered to customers. In addition, we take into consideration Scottish Power’s strengths and weaknesses.
While Scottish Power does offer a wide range of products and services, as well as a commendable commitment to greener energy, these positive points are overshadowed by its subpar customer service. Indeed, customer service reviews are dreadful. And although smart meters and a smartphone app may be convenient, they are hardly revolutionary. Taken together, we have awarded Scottish Power 2 / 5 stars.
Scottish Power: Selectra's verdict - ★★